Vladimir Kornilov: Babchenko’s Lesson – Western Colleagues Are Indignant, But Continue to Spread the Fake

Translated by Ollie Richardson & Angelina Siard



The fake murder of Arkady Babchenko became the top news in all world media. The vast majority of western media that usually support the post-Maidan Ukraine, what ever it does, angrily condemned the official lie. After all, Kiev, having deceived everyone, frankly set-up both western journalists and officials who during the whole 24 hours suffered from Babchenko being “killed by the Kremlin”.

For example, the European Parliament deputy from Lithuania Petras Aushtryavichyus managed to call for new sanctions against Russia for the terrible “murder of the great journalist Arkady Babchenko”. When it became clear that “the great journalist” is as large as life, the Lithuanian politician didn’t bother to delete his appeal — he probably believes that Russia all the same should be punished with “Babchenko’s list”.

The critics from among “former” Russia citizens also made their contribution. For example, the political scientist Anton Shekhovtsov living today in Europe demanded from western officials to boycott the future World Cup. “Will indeed they go to Russia in order to shake a hand covered in fresh blood?” he asked. Later Shekhovtsov very slyly removed this tweet (but it remained in the cache).

It’s no wonder that angry judgements of the actions of the government in Kiev tumbled out – and are still tumbling out – of western figures of different levels during the very first minutes of the press conference at which the living Babchenko was presented.

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The leitmotif of the majority of statements is as such: a state that spreads lies at the top-level can’t be trusted. The representative of the OSCE concerning freedom of speech Harlem Desir, who was already going to fly to Kiev for Babchenko’s “funeral”, stated: “I condemn the decision to spread false information about the journalist’s life. The state is obliged to provide right information to the public”.

The Reporters Without Borders organisation expressed itself even more sharply: “Nothing can justify the fake murder of a journalist in Kiev”.

“The forged murder of the Russian undermines trust towards Ukraine,” reported the columnist of the Bloomberg agency Leonid Bershidsky. “Having forged Babchenko’s death, Ukraine dirtied itself,” echoes Sophie Pinkham, the writer and constant commentator of the Ukrainian question on The Guardian pages.

The Independent newspaper considers the actions of Kiev as “the best PR gift for Russia”. This same thought is repeated by the American website “Coda”, calling the operation “a gift to the Kremlin”.

Even the permanent lawyers of Ukraine in the West, although trying to soften the anger of colleagues, are all the same obliged to condemn Kiev for the high-ranking fake. The historian and publicist Anne Applebaum in The Washington Post admitted that this scandal “will reduce even further the already microscopically low levels of trust that Ukrainians have in their government and their media”. The immemorial critic of Russia Edward Lucas added in The Times: “In the opinion of the outside world the strange episode that happened this week will strengthen the perception of Ukraine as a banana republic”.

But Ukrainian journalists and experts didn’t find grounds for criticism. The conversation on Twitter between the correspondent of The Guardian on Eastern Europe Shaun Walker and the founder of the Ukrainian structure of StopFake Evgeny Fedchenko, who tried to justify the lie of Kiev, is indicative.

But it is obvious that Walker isn’t ready for jokes. Immediately after the news that the “victim” he mourns is alive, the journalist wrote an angry tweet:

“Excellent take,” said Max Tucker, supporting his colleague. Until recently Tucker covered the Ukrainian events in the Times newspaper and became famous for his sensational article about troops of DPR allegedly developing a “dirty” atomic bomb. Practically all the text was based on the SBU’s information.

The take is excellent, but fleeting. In his editorial in The Guardian Walker tells the readers: “In fact, he (Babchenko) had faked his own death as part of a top-secret Ukrainian security services operation to catch real would-be killers operating on Moscow’s orders”.

Ponder on this “in fact”. After all, the correspondent of The Guardian who just decided not to trust the SBU immediately repeats the unfounded narrative of “killers acting on Moscow’s orders”.

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